As a uniform and decorated workwear provider, we get a ton of questions. Some of the more popular ones include:
- What type of products do you offer?
- How do I know what workwear is right for my employees?
- How much will it cost to put my team in a complete uniform?
These are all legitimate questions that come from businesses of various sizes.
But there is another question we get often that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The question I’m referring to is:
How can I get my team to take part in wearing their uniforms?
We’re sometimes surprised when asked this question, actually. To us, if your company dictates that it’s employees be in uniform, then this question shouldn’t be on the radar.
But it is. And that question has me thinking.
After launching a uniform program with a business, we don’t do a great job at helping them promote it. We don’t work hard enough to assist managers in communicating the benefits of wearing the company workwear properly.
We do a decent job at answering those surface level questions I mentioned earlier.
But we need to do more, and that’s what this article is about.
In this article, I want to explore the opportunity behind updating your uniform periodically. Refreshing your look does not have to derail your brand. We’ll also talk about ways your employees can be more engaged in the workwear selection process. Safety aside, there is usually little reason not to let employees in on this decision. Lastly, for those environments where a uniform program is necessary for safety reasons, we’ll look at ways to promote safe work practices centered around your workwear.
After implementing these tips, your team will always look professional.
Periodically Update Your Uniform
Now, bear with me on this one, because I know what you’re thinking.
“I can’t update the uniform my team wears. It would go against our brand guidelines.”
But, consider this.
With a little bit of effort, don’t you think you’d be able to find similar colors to wear that will keep your brand consistent?
Because what I’m talking about doesn’t mean you flip your business on it’s head. Nothing we’ll discuss here makes you unrecognizable to your customers. I’m suggesting you make small and incremental changes to stay top of mind in your market.
Full disclosure. My company is a seller of uniform apparel and workwear. We’re also familiar with the uniform rental industry as our “sister company”, Model Uniforms provides rental of uniforms and other facilities supplies. They help us to draw the lines between the rental program and the purchase program.
With that said, it may be difficult to make updates to your uniform if you’re renting them. Be sure to consult with your uniform provider first.
If you’re buying though, there is no reason why you can’t make periodic updates to your uniform program. We always like to use the example of updating styles but maintaining the appropriate colors to represent your brand. This provides a great opportunity for your employees to stay “fashionable” while representing your company well.
But beware, as there are dangers to updating your uniform. Updating your uniform because you and your employees feel like there need to be more options can often cause more harm than good. Make sure you don’t stray from the intent of the uniform. For more help on finding the right time to update your uniform, see this article.
Let Your Employees Pick Their Uniforms
Ok. Calm down. This isn’t going to be that bad.
Remember, you’re the leader of the team. Most of your people are looking to you for leadership in more ways than you know.
This could be a great opportunity for your team to admire your leadership.
Imagine this scenario:
You lead a team of dozens of people every day. They are great at what they do and more often than not, they’re happy while at work. But the truth is, some of your tenured team members have been wearing the same uniform for years. They’re beginning to voice their opinions about it and want you to hear them.
I hear opportunity knocking. Here’s why:
You can take this time to evaluate the uniform your team is wearing. Reach out to your uniform provider to see if there are other options that your team can wear. After you’ve found new options, involve your employees in making the decision! There’s no need to form a special committee and take 6 months to make a decision. Select the best options from your uniform provider and take a simple yea or nea vote from your team. They’ll thank you for valuing their insights.
But, we urge you to proceed with caution again. Involving your team can make this process a difficult one. With everyone’s different opinions, reaching a conclusion might never happen. The next thing you know, you’ve abandoned the idea and you’re team will be in the same, tired clothes for 5 more years.
You’re the leader of the group. Make the tough decisions up front so the group can provide valuable feedback and wrap up the project. For more reading on the dangers of letting your employees pick their uniform, read this article.
Develop A Safety Rewards Program
The topic of safety is a big one in many work environments. Depending on the type of work your team is doing, some companies even devote entire departments of people to ensuring safe practices in the workplace.
It’s in these particular environments that you can increase participation in your uniform program by developing a safety rewards program.
From working with companies that rely on taking extensive measures to keep their employees safe, we’ve learned that rewarding employees for practicing safe behaviors at work is becoming more popular. Here’s how some leaders are doing it:
Imagine a maintenance supervisor at a natural gas processing facility. His team maintains the compressor stations that extract and process natural gas from the ground. Because of the potential exposure to flammable gas and liquids, these employees need to be in flame resistant clothing. But some employees don’t find the clothing comfortable, so they do anything they can to avoid wearing the right protective gear. This is bad news for both the employee and the company, so the supervisor decides to incentivize safe work practices.
One way that supervisors build a safety rewards program is by giving gift cards or prepaid debit cards as rewards. They’ll track employee behavior over a given time frame, often a month. Depending on how safe the employee is that month, they’re eligible to receive a gift card.
Think of the buy-in you’ll get from your team when they can have a nice meal at their favorite restaurant because they were safe at work. Beyond that, think of how happy your boss will be when he sees accidents and injuries are down due to the emphasis you’ve put on promoting safety in the workplace. That’s called a win-win.
Another way leaders build a safety rewards program is with apparel or similar merchandise, often decorated with the company logo. This option is near and dear to our hearts as some of our business comes from these kinds of ideas. Using the same concept of monitoring employee safety for a month, supervisors will then hand an employee a card with various decorated apparel options on it.
The employee is able to pick what they’d like from the list of items on the card. Decoration requirements are pre-determined. All that needs added are the employee’s size and a shipping address. It’s that simple.
With this easy to install rewards program, you’ll find employees competing to get their hands on a safety card. Also, they’ll see the value you place on being safe while at work. Imagine the savings when you invest a few thousand dollars annually to avoid tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost production time and medical bills. Another win-win.
So there you have it. Three tried and true ways to increase participation in your uniform program. We’re certain you’ll see more participation from your team with these ideas because we’ve seen it. Most employees of the companies we work with ask if their uniform can be updated and if they can have a hand in determining what they wear. When these questions are handled correctly by their managers, everyone wins. And who doesn’t like getting a kudos for a job well done? Instituting a safety rewards program is the icing on the cake when looking to promote safety in the workplace.
Can you think of other ways of increasing participation in your uniform program? Reach out to us and let us know what works for you.